The age-old debate between buying and leasing a car is still a hot topic in 2023. Car buying doesn’t look the same as it once did. Now, you can shop around online and even complete the purchase process from your couch. Many dealers will even come directly to you to allow you to test drive a vehicle. But the question remains: should you lease or buy?
Before making a decision, it’s best to take some time to understand the benefits of each option. Learn how car lease benefits stack up to traditional auto loan financing and how lease-to-own works so you can make the best decision for your budget.
Purchasing a car outright carries several benefits no matter how you secure the funds. Whether you take out a loan or pay in full, the end goal is the same: you will be the owner of the car. When you lease, you are never truly the owner of the vehicle.
Are you considering buying a car? There are a few distinct factors to consider before signing on the dotted line. There are several benefits of purchasing a car that you can’t always get when leasing.
For most buyers, the cost of purchasing the vehicle is the single most important factor to consider. It’s a major expense, which is why most people take out an auto loan and make monthly payments toward the total purchase price of the vehicle. Although financing a vehicle has its fair share of fees, like interest rates, it’s nothing compared to the hidden fees and potential extra costs of leasing a vehicle.
Even if you finance a car with an auto loan, you are not restricted in your driving habits. Most leases have mileage limits, and if you exceed your allowed mileage, you could face a hefty fee when it’s time to turn it in. Likewise, you could be charged an excess wear and tear fee if your vehicle is returned with dings, dents or scratches.
Like many American drivers, you may be interested in personalizing your vehicle with distinct features, upgrades and add-ons. After all, the vehicle is yours – or will be, if you take out a loan and finish paying it off. Things like tinted windows, spoilers, mufflers, paint jobs and other custom features may be off-limits when you lease a car.
Buying a car means the vehicle is yours to sell and trade as you please. Cars do not usually keep their value, but if you keep yours in solid condition, you could get more than you would if you lease a car (since it isn’t yours to sell).
Because you are not locked into a lease term, you can also trade your vehicle in for another one and lower the purchase price. You don’t need to wait until your loan is paid off, either – the dealer will simply wrap what you owe into a new loan and send you away with your new car.